Roman J. Hoyos

Professor of Law

Professor Roman Hoyos

A.B., History, 1993, University of California, Berkeley
J.D., 2001, Northwestern University;
M.A. History, 2003, and Ph.D., American History, 2010, University of Chicago

Member, California State Bar


Roman Hoyos is primarily interested in the relationships between law, democracy, and the state in American history.  Originally interested in 20th-century American cultural history, law school made him realize that he was a legal historian, and that the 19th century was where the most interesting questions involving law’s relationship to democracy were to be explored.  He would go on to receive his Ph.D. in American History from the University of Chicago, focusing on 19th century legal history.

"I want to ensure my students understand that law is an instrument of power that should be deployed carefully and thoughtfully, and so to approach the legal questions they'll face with a certain sense of humility."

Professor Hoyos is in the process of completing his book In Convention Assembled: Law and Democracy in Nineteenth-Century America. The book explores the intellectual, ideological, and institutional role that constitutional conventions played in moderating the relationship between law and democracy in the nineteenth century.  In particular, it explores how changes in the ways Americans understood the relationship between the convention and “the people” contributed to the formation of the modern American state.  In addition to working on his book, Professor Hoyos has published several book chapters and articles on American legal and constitutional history.  

Prior to coming to Southwestern, Professor Hoyos taught at Duke University Law School as a Visiting Assistant Professor from 2008-2010.  At Southwestern, Professor Hoyos teaches in the areas of property and government.  As a teacher, he enjoys witnessing “The ‘Aha! Moment’— that moment when you see a student truly grasp the material for the first time, and then apply it in some unexpected way.”

Professor Hoyos is the Book Reviews Editor of the American Journal of Legal History, a Contributing Editor for the Legal History Section of the online review journal JOTWeLL (Journal Of Things We Like Lots), and a board member of the California State Supreme Court Historical Society. While in law school, Professor Hoyos served as the Special Sections Editor for Law Review. Following law school Professor Hoyos practiced law briefly at Rosen, Bien & Asaro (now Rosen, Bien & Galvan), a small civil rights firm in San Francisco that specializes in prisoner rights and attorney fees litigation, before returning to school to get his doctorate.